Thai Bev to list on SET? What, if anything, would it mean?


Buddhism, the religion of some 95% of the subjects of Thailand, calls for moderation in nearly all things – opium, for example, was for centuries accepted as a means of controlling pain, used in moderation. Those activities not proscribed (e.g. theft or murder) are accepted in, once again, moderation. This is a very humane approach and enables people whose lives were if not nasty, brutish and short at least often difficult, unrewarding and tedious to enjoy the occasional celebration. It is no surprise that animist rituals throughout the country (throughout mainland Southeast Asia more or less) feature the drinking of rice wine and feasting on pigs to recognize important events (e.g. weddings, successful births) and the passing of important dates (e.g. harvests, the monsoon’s arrival).

Of course, there is potential for people to abuse all things and excessive alcohol consumption causes many health and social issues. In other countries which have turned to paternalist authoritarianism, notably South Korea, alcohol (soju, specifically) was manufactured in large amounts and the price kept low as a means of keeping the self-sacrificing working classes compliant in the continual urging to work harder to save the country. There was some justification to this since it is very likely that had South Korea not managed to outdistance its neighbour to the north in industrial and economic terms, then further invasion attempts would have occurred.

In Thailand, the attempt to control the behaviour of the working classes has occurred comparatively recently, although there have always been small abstinence movements largely for the middle classes. The movement occurred as part of the anti-government protests which began in 2005 and has now turned into a fully fledged anti-democracy proto-fascist movement prepared to use violence to overthrow the state. In 2005, a resurgence of ostentatious nationalism and loyalty to the throne through wearing yellow shirts and protesting that loyalty very publicly. One extremist Buddhist school of thought has been led by Chamlong Srimuang, one of the ringleaders of the anti-democracy movement, who protested against the attempt by Thai Bev, one of the country’s leading companies, from registering on the local stock exchange (the SET). Protests were so tediously persistent that Thai Bev listed in Singapore instead. Now it is planning, according to newspaper reports anyway, to attempt once more to list on the SET. The weekend threatens bloodshed on the streets of Bangkok and throughout the country (which will be largely unreported). Whether religious groups again seek to involve themselves remains to be seen.  

Why Do You Tell Me That It’s Good To Be A Stranger?


Looks like it might be a good weekend to be away from  Bangkok – central Bangkok at any rate – if any of the various ‘doomsday’ scenarios pitching the anti-democracy PAD mob against the pro-democracy DAAD supporters and a police presence led by former Police Chief General Salang Bunnag come to pass. Disgraced PAD ringleader Chamlong Srimuang, a man with a great deal of blood on his hands already, seems quite prepared for more of his pawns to lose their lives and to continue murdering opposing protestors. The police seem to be preparing for the worst. Curious how quickly one’s sympathies can change – who’d be a copper with the heavily-armed and powerfully-supported PAD are out to get you? Not to mention being held to blame for anything else that happens.

Will the military take this opportunity to stage yet another coup? It seems to be quite well established that leader of the army Anupong Paojinda is holding out against the rest of the top brass who are in all favour of rolling the tanks out onto the streets again. Anupong, surely, calculates that he is now at the height of the power he can expect – the military receives huge amounts of money from the budget, enough to smooth over many things, shall we say, as well as buying a load more gear (and of course purchasing provides its own opportunities). At the same time, Anupong can lord it over the government because PM Somchai is in no position to act against him, even if he wanted – it was reported earlier this week that Anupong had further bolstered his position by appointing protégés to key Bangkok-based posts. All of this power and prestige is likely to be lost if there is a coup – it is more than likely that there would be an armed response to the tanks and jackboots this time and one which might, just might conceivably spiral into an entirely more serious series of changes in Thai society. Anupong would also face international condemnation and would have to make more constitutional changes to protect himself and his cronies from the criminal prosecutions which he and the previous junta so richly deserve. It is a lot to throw away.

Why Do You Tell Me That It’s Good To Be A Stranger?


Looks like it might be a good weekend to be away from  Bangkok – central Bangkok at any rate – if any of the various ‘doomsday’ scenarios pitching the anti-democracy PAD mob against the pro-democracy DAAD supporters and a police presence led by former Police Chief General Salang Bunnag come to pass. Disgraced PAD ringleader Chamlong Srimuang, a man with a great deal of blood on his hands already, seems quite prepared for more of his pawns to lose their lives and to continue murdering opposing protestors. The police seem to be preparing for the worst. Curious how quickly one’s sympathies can change – who’d be a copper with the heavily-armed and powerfully-supported PAD are out to get you? Not to mention being held to blame for anything else that happens.

Will the military take this opportunity to stage yet another coup? It seems to be quite well established that leader of the army Anupong Paojinda is holding out against the rest of the top brass who are in all favour of rolling the tanks out onto the streets again. Anupong, surely, calculates that he is now at the height of the power he can expect – the military receives huge amounts of money from the budget, enough to smooth over many things, shall we say, as well as buying a load more gear (and of course purchasing provides its own opportunities). At the same time, Anupong can lord it over the government because PM Somchai is in no position to act against him, even if he wanted – it was reported earlier this week that Anupong had further bolstered his position by appointing protégés to key Bangkok-based posts. All of this power and prestige is likely to be lost if there is a coup – it is more than likely that there would be an armed response to the tanks and jackboots this time and one which might, just might conceivably spiral into an entirely more serious series of changes in Thai society. Anupong would also face international condemnation and would have to make more constitutional changes to protect himself and his cronies from the criminal prosecutions which he and the previous junta so richly deserve. It is a lot to throw away.